The duel for Missouri’s backup quarterback job won’t impact the friendship between junior Corbin Berkstresser and redshirt freshman Eddie Printz.
In fact, Berkstresser doesn’t even believe he’s battling Printz for the No. 2 spot on the Tigers’ depth chart.
“I’m not competing against him and he’s not competing against me,” said Berkstresser, a Lee’s Summit graduate. “We’re competing against ourselves and just trying to be the best quarterback we can be.”
Back in the spring, Missouri coach Gary Pinkel predicted that this particular position battle would rage well into August.
So far, he’s been spot on as the Tigers prepare for the first scrimmage of training camp Tuesday morning at Memorial Stadium.
Quarterbacks coach Andy Hill said the difference between Berkstresser and Printz, a Marietta, Ga., native, is razor thin right now.
Both quarterbacks seem to know it, too.
“(It’s) neck and neck, and it will be neck and neck through the end of fall camp,” Berkstresser said.
He and Printz bring a similar style as well.
“Corbin and I are both pocket passers,” Printz said. “We like to sit in there, make the throw, make the read. (We’ll) use our feet when we need to, but I think both of us would rather throw the ball and make a play with our arm rather than move and make a play with our feet.”
Berkstresser, who is 6 feet 3 and 235 pounds, probably has the stronger arm, but Printz, who is 6 feet 2 and 215, possesses a more deft touch.
The job is potentially vital, because Missouri’s second-string quarterback has started four games in each of the last two seasons.
Berkstresser went 2-2 when James Franklin was injured in 2012, while Maty Mauk, the Tigers’ sophomore starting quarterback this season, went 3-1 with Franklin sidelined last season.
“Obviously, you don’t ever want your starter to go down, no matter what situation or what happens,” Printz said. “That said, the last two years, the second string has started two games. It’s always an opportunity. There’s always the potential it could happen.”
Still, however the competition shakes out, Printz and Berkstresser insist there won’t be any hard feelings.
“Friendship-wise, no — that’s my big brother, whether he gets it or I get it,” Printz said. “I’m cheering him on. He’s cheering me on. I’m going to do my best to make him better and vice versa. The same thing goes for Maty, even though he’s not in the competition directly. If the No. 2’s getting better, that’s pushing the No. 1. If the No. 1’s getting better, that’s making the team better. That’s the whole point.”